A recent wave of violence, including murders in New York City and Washington, D.C., puts an urgent focus on the predicament faced by many transgender women of color.
Earlier this month, advocates, friends, and elected officials gathered in East Harlem to mourn Camila Guzman, a transgender woman found stabbed to death in her apartment August 1. Sad and defiant, with personal tributes and chants of “queremos justicia” (“we want justice”), the evening marked the latest somber recognition for a transgender victim. It also delivered a potent reminder of the multilayered discrimination transgender women of color face because of their race, gender identity, and related factors.
“It boils down to the intersection of prejudices,” said Melissa Sandel, an HIV prevention specialist for the Community Healthcare Network's transgender family program, who attended the vigil. “It’s hard, period.”
According to a report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released in July, transgender women of color experienced hate violence far disproportionate to their actual numbers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected community. People of color represented 70% of all LGBT-bias-related murder victims in 2010, and some 44% of LGBT murder victims were transgender women.
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